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Old 02-04-2010, 19:55   #241
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Originally Posted by LiFeTech Energy View Post
"Lead acid" is a term which covers several different battery types in this family such as AGM, gel, flooded cell, etc.
Similarly, "Lithium Ion" is also a generic term which covers the entire lithium family. Individual lithium family members include lithium iron phosphate, lithium cobalt, lithium manganese, lithium polymer, etc.
LiFePO4 is the only chemistry type which should be considered for use in a boat (unless you like playing Russian roulette)

I am only talking about lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries here since this is by far the safest type in the lithium family and has by far the longest cycle life.
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So they are the same. Somewhat like the seven very different cuts of meat sold as "London Broil" in the US. That makes them "endorsed" by many major players, which is a good thing to me. (Apparently, "will not explode without considerable assistance" is considered to be an important point with hybrid cars, too.<G>)
All Lead acid chemistry is the same, the only difference is the form of the electolyte. Each of the different Li batteries is a different chemistry. IIRC Li Ion refers to Lithium Cobalt specifically. LiFe PO4 refers to the specific chemistry of the battery.
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Old 02-04-2010, 21:17   #242
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All Lead acid chemistry is the same, the only difference is the form of the electolyte. Each of the different Li batteries is a different chemistry. IIRC Li Ion refers to Lithium Cobalt specifically. LiFe PO4 refers to the specific chemistry of the battery.
With lead acid batteries it is not just the form of the electrolyte alone. Different lead acid battery manufacturers use different variations in the lead alloys which make up the plates. Some use pure lead, some such as Hawker/Genesis use a tin/lead alloy while others use an alloy with added calcium. So even with lead acid batteries there are slight differences due to variations in materials used by the different lead acid battery manufacturers.
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Old 04-04-2010, 08:41   #243
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"Inferior LIFEPO4"

SIr;

Do you have any links to independent testing which shows the Chinese LIFEPO4 to be inferior, and the impact to the user of such inferiority. Right now, your claims could be mistaken for nothing more than a marketing tool.

Chris

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...It is not made in China. ... more than a lower grade material made in China.
...diagnosing/fixing lithium cell problems as they arise you can certainly save some money buy using low C rate batteries such as Thundersky. For the professional users (as well as manufacturers) who want an integrated solution/maintenance free batteries for life and don't have time to tinker then Lifebatt/Lifetech batteries could be an answer.
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Old 04-04-2010, 09:30   #244
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The U.S. is currently going through a drywall scandal with Chinese product, following almost continual lead paint in children's toys, and of course the melamine. I need little convicing that a Chinese product is often inferior. It is not always inferior though, and Chris is right to ask the question.

Aside from the quality of the product though, you can be pretty certain that the Chinese factory adheres to very low environmental standards, which, together with low salaries for the workers, accounts for most of the cost differential. It is almost certainly NOT inneficiency in the German plant, or a desire for vast profits - buy Chinese and the price differential is paid for by the environment.
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Old 04-04-2010, 09:34   #245
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Oh, I forgot to mention the Chinese currency manipulation CBC News - Money - Selling our oil dear: the advantages of a cheap Chinese yuan

Stalin said "The Capitalists will gladly sell the rope with which we will hang them" Did'nt quite work for the Russians, but seems to be working quite well for the Chinese.
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Old 04-04-2010, 09:39   #246
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Originally Posted by witzgall View Post
SIr;

Do you have any links to independent testing which shows the Chinese LIFEPO4 to be inferior, and the impact to the user of such inferiority. Right now, your claims could be mistaken for nothing more than a marketing tool.

Chris
All you need to do is look at some of the blogs and websites of people who have been using many of the Chinese batteries to see their results. To boating guys this is all new so you have to look at the experiences of the guys who have been using these batteries for a few years now ie, the electric bike and car owners. For example you can read the real life experiences of people such as this not so happy owner of Thundersky batteries- ThunderSky Lithium-Ion Cells

One of the first boat owners to use Thundersky batteries was having lots of troubles with a few of his cells. There was also a severe build up of corrosion on a couple of the cell terminals. The owner posted lots of photos of all the trouble he went to in sorting out his cell problems and dealing with the battery terminal corrosion problems. He initially posted several photos showing the state of his batteries and the battery terminal corrosion. In the last few weeks he has removed all of these photos from his blog. The owner of the boat is one of the nicest guys you could ever meet and I have the feeling he removed the photos from his blog due to embarrassment.

You asked "and the impact to the user of such inferiority". The impact to the user of such inferiority is twofold (from my personal experiences with several of these customers)-

1) angry customers when their lithium batteries fail in a short time and their money has gone down the drain with no re-course from the Chinese battery manufacturers who supplied the poor quality product in the first place.
2) embarrassed customers who then realize how stupid they were for buying a cheap Chinese lithium battery (often they don't want to admit this to their friends or colleagues).

It is pretty logical really. Why would you buy a cheap Chinese lithium battery if the manufacturer is not willing to put a warranty on it (or only a very short warranty if you are lucky)? For example Thundersky (the manufacturer) provides zero/nil/zip warranty on their product. Now if a manufacturer of a battery is not willing to back their own product with a lengthy warranty then why should the end user have any faith in the reliability of the product?

All of the Chinese lithium LiFePO4 batteries are copies (with poor quality and performance) when compared with the original LiFePO4 battery as invented by Dr John Goodenough and patented by Phostech Hydro-Quebec of which LiFeTech Energy (the company I represent) is the official licensee.
Ask yourself which is of better quality and will last longer-
1) Genuine Nike sports shoes compared with cheap copies of Nike shoes made in China to look like the genuine product.
2) A genuine Rolex watch or a cheap knock off made in China made to look like the genuine Rolex?
I could add 3)..4).. etc. but I think you get the point.

Don't get me wrong. If you are happy to spend time cleaning corrosion off battery terminals, diagnosing cell faults as they occur and more general tinkering with your batteries then of course some of the Chinese batteries might be adequate for your needs.
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Old 04-04-2010, 10:26   #247
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You make a lot of good points. I believe you are wrong in stating all Chinese batteries are copies. A123 for example are U.S. technology with Chinese manufacturing, though the do have a large U.S. plant as well UPDATE 2-A123 Systems, SAIC to set up China car battery JV | Reuters

How this plays out in future remains to be seen, but the capitallists readitionally ditch the U.S. plant when the off-shore manufacture is proven cheaper.

Bill
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Old 04-04-2010, 10:47   #248
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Bill?
"but the capitallists readitionally ditch the U.S. plant when the off-shore manufacture is proven cheaper."
Yes, but do they go to CHINA? The hanky-panky, government sanctioned corruption, and general traditional problem of "Oh, that's the low kingdom, we can dump on them they're not really human" are for real. This week a columnist in the Wall Street Journal was saying that he made the mistake of winning three events in a neighborhood swimming contest while living in China. And then he was invited to second event, where they brought in ringers to make sure he didn't win anything more at all, to teach him humility.

Oh, and apparently their dairy industry stored up melamine contaminted milk products and put them back on their domestic market recently. More baby deaths but, heck, babies are cheap.

It may not be a uniquely Chinese problem, but China is very much in the stage where the problem is rampant.
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Old 04-04-2010, 10:59   #249
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It's wrong of me to single out China of course, but they are the big one. I suppose it's wrong to favour Germany over China also - China has never attacked us (sorry Lifetech).

Bill
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Old 04-04-2010, 11:00   #250
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Lifetech,
Can you explain the company's structure to me. Apparently you're tied to the Aussie division. I googled Lifetech and came up with a Chinese branch (Taiwan). Is there a US branch? How does anyone know where their Lifetech batteries come from, and how do we know Lifetech's Chinese batteries are built to the same standards?
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Old 04-04-2010, 11:08   #251
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I think many yanks here have trembling knees about the debt they owe to China. They should realize that the one thing that will make them call for their $$$ is Americans trying to hurt their economy ;-)

I have no experience with either LFP manufacturer but I did read that the Chinese versions have improved significantly so any undated info ain't worth much.

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 08-04-2010, 12:16   #252
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"China has never attacked us " Actually, I think they have that in common with Germany. Although "Germany" is a fairly recently built state, while China was built many centuries ago by one warlord conquering six other states. Then again, state-sponsored economic warfare (aka "dumping" below true cost) is someting a number of states including both Japan and China have done, while the Germans simply charge an arm and a leg and seduce us with shiny toys.<G>
Getting back to battery technology...although I'm not enamoured of German engineering (you try to fix one of their cars when it breaks down, using common hand tools) I don't think anyone equates "Made in China" and "Made in Germany" with the same expectations for price or product quality. I'd expect a battery made in Germany to require metric charging adapters and specially trained personnel to merely unpliug it, but I'd also be more comfortable with letting it charge while I slept.
Although the last BMW that I laid hands on (an X3) had the battery relocated under the luggage compartment. Using a wet acid battery with an external vent hose, instead of AGM, and an empty battery box up under the hood. I think they're losing it at BMW. And now that Geely owns Volvo...ah gee, I guess that means at least one "Chinese" car is getting higher qc ranks than a German one does!

Someone, pour me a stiff one. The world just went heel over head!
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Old 08-04-2010, 12:44   #253
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Bill-
"China has never attacked us " Actually, I think they have that in common with Germany. Although "Germany" is a fairly recently built state, while China was built many centuries ago by one warlord conquering six other states. Then again, state-sponsored economic warfare (aka "dumping" below true cost) is someting a number of states including both Japan and China have done, while the Germans simply charge an arm and a leg and seduce us with shiny toys.<G>
Getting back to battery technology...although I'm not enamoured of German engineering (you try to fix one of their cars when it breaks down, using common hand tools) I don't think anyone equates "Made in China" and "Made in Germany" with the same expectations for price or product quality. I'd expect a battery made in Germany to require metric charging adapters and specially trained personnel to merely unpliug it, but I'd also be more comfortable with letting it charge while I slept.
Although the last BMW that I laid hands on (an X3) had the battery relocated under the luggage compartment. Using a wet acid battery with an external vent hose, instead of AGM, and an empty battery box up under the hood. I think they're losing it at BMW. And now that Geely owns Volvo...ah gee, I guess that means at least one "Chinese" car is getting higher qc ranks than a German one does!

Someone, pour me a stiff one. The world just went heel over head!
Thread drift!!!
I would have to concur with you on my experience with German products. We have a BMW X5, a Benz SLK as well as a lot of Bosch tools. There is really a lot that I like about each of these BUT, I don't know what it is but they seem to go brain dead with certain things in each. The X5's plastic parts are all disintegrating, both vehicles will be hard pressed to get to 100,000 mi without a lot of maintenance. The Bosch tools are great with the exception of those areas where their design thinking seems like it never happened.
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Old 08-04-2010, 13:50   #254
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So, let's summarize this quickly:

In order, right now, to get a good LiFePO4 setup, we'd need to source:

A. A set of cells to combine into a 12V or 24V bank matching our AH requirement. Assume a quality set of cells, regardless of manufacture origin.
B. One BMC module per cell, can be very simple so long as it meets the requirements of cruising.
C. A BMC controller of some kind, plus interrupting circuitry and alarm circuitry

Then we could:

D. Charge with existing Lead-Acid chargers, including Balmar Alts / Regulators, Xantrex AC chargers, Solar/Wind chargers + load diversion, etc... as normal, without any serious differences. We could set these to standard Lead-Acid chemistry without worry, and just let them sort the batteries out like we do now with the old technology, yes?
E. Monitor with AH counters with less resynchronization necessary.

Shame... I just bought a new set of Lifelines. Wish I'd found this thread sooner.
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Old 08-04-2010, 14:00   #255
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I think they all include cell level management - the Mastervolt certainly do.

Lead acid is still most likely the best budget way to go, but I'll admit, when you replace that set in a few years time replacement will most likely be with Lithium Phosphate.

Bill
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